We have to establish personal boundaries in our relationships to preserve our own emotional health and to protect the treasure God has in us. Learn to establish boundaries and draw the line with people who would cross your boundaries and put you in bondage!
How to Establish Emotional/Personal Boundaries:
1. Place boundaries around your heart.
2. Learn that it’s okay to say no.
3. Start being assertive.
Assertiveness is the ability to express one’s feelings, opinions, beliefs and needs directly, openly and honestly, assert one’s rights whilst respecting the feelings and rights of another (Lloyd, 1998). Non-assertive individuals may be passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive. They are often taken advantage of, feel helpless, take on everyone’s problems, say ‘yes’ to inappropriate demands and thoughtless requests, allow others to choose for him or her. The non-assertive person is emotionally dishonest (with him/herself), is indirect, self-denying, and inhibited. He/she feels hurt, anxious, and possibly angry about his/her actions.
The typical reason people continue to be nonassertive is to avoid any kind of conflict, but the consequences are horrendously hurt feelings and deeply devalued self-worth. Assertively “standing up for yourself” in a respectful, appropriate manner is acting in accordance with Jesus’ instructions. “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” (Matthew 18:15)
Ways to Deliver Your Message Assertively:
- “When I.…”: Without judging, describe a specific behavior of the other person that violates one of your boundaries. “When I hear anger escalate, I get concerned.”
- “The result is.…”: Describe specifically how the other person’s behaviour affects your life and, as a result, how you feel. (Avoid, “You make me…”). “The result is I feel hurt and frustrated because I think that instead of yelling, we should be talking about the problem.”
- “I want.…”: Describe what you would like to hear or to have happen. “I want you to call and give me enough notice to prepare adequately.”
- Checking – “I am not quite sure how clearly I explained that, could you tell me what you think I said?”
- Insisting – “Yes, I understand that you are busy. However, I need to speak to you urgently.”
- Compromise – “I can see that you are very busy right now, can we arrange a time that is convenient for both of us?”
- Goal setting – “Would you be satisfied if we………?”
- Goal inviting – “What do you suggest that we do so that both of us are happy?”
- Reflecting – “Do you feel ……. when I……? I can see that you are really angry.”
- Accepting – “I can understand why you might think that, or how you came to that conclusion.”
- Inquiring – “Were you upset by………………….?”